Saint John the Evangelist


The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

In this Byzantine New Testament, Saint John the Evangelist stands with a book representing his Gospel. The naturalistic treatment of the figure displays the illuminator's debt to the artistic tradition of classical antiquity. The treatment of the drapery gives a sense of the weight and volume of the stocky saint. The careful modeling of the saint's flesh, hair, and beard reinforces the illusion of three-dimensionality. But the illuminator was not only interested in recreating the visible world, he also portrayed the spiritual dimension of his subject. He shows John turning his head back over his shoulder to receive the inspiration for his Gospel from the blessing hand of God, who emerges from an arc of heaven. The plain gold background imbues the whole miniature with an otherworldly quality.

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  • Title: Saint John the Evangelist
  • Date Created: 1133
  • Location Created: Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey
  • Physical Dimensions: w18.1 x h22.1 cm
  • Type: Folio
  • Rights: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html
  • External Link: http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=3274
  • Medium: "Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment"
  • illuminator: Unknown
  • Terms of Use: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html
  • Subject: God the Father, Saint John the Evangelist